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Honda City Automatic Review By Dilip

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In this article I am going to share all my thoughts about my All New Honda City which I bought by April 2009. Before this I drove a Honda City GXi and you can say that I am a die hard Honda City fan. There is something special about the Honda City in terms of price and the features it offers. I believe that with this car you reach a saturation point in terms of comfort travel experience. I have test driven Mercedes C-Class and a lot of other cars. In my experience, as you move from the smallest/cheapest car, say Maruti 800 to higher versions, you will note a significant improvement in comfort and driving experience as you spend more and more. But when you spend nearly 10.5 Lakhs for a Honda City Auto Trans. version, you reach a saturation point in comfort.

When you go for higher end cars, the marginal utility with every additional lakh spent reduces exponentially. Say for example you can get a Honda Civic AT for 15 Lakhs. For additional 4.5 lakhs, the level of benefits that you get is very less (if you keep social status thing aside). For 4.5 Lakhs, you could buy almost a decent small car. I may be a little biased towards my Honda City because I love it so much, but this is just my opinion. I am no where near to an auto expert and you should not consider this as professional advice. Disclaimer given upfront.

First, I was planning to buy a Civic. Auto transmission was very important for me because I am a lazy person who does not want to keep changing the gears. But Civic came to 15 Lakhs when you choose AT. I also had a love for VW Jetta Comfortline which costed around 18 Lakhs. I was confused whether to spend an extra 3 and go for VW or settle with the Civic. This internal debate was going on inside my mind for several months and I was postponing my purchase. One day I realized that I cannot keep driving my old Honda City GXi manual transmission anymore and I felt a need to buy a new car immediately.

At that time the New Honda City was launched just 1-2 months back and I decided to take a test drive. I had a preconceived notion that the New Honda City will not be much different from the old one in terms of comfort or performance and I also had an opinion that Honda has just changed the looks to bring some buzz and boost the sales. But when I had the test ride, my notions blasted away. The first thing that I noticed was that the seating position has been improved significantly and my thighs rested comfortably, which did not in my old Honda City. I am 5 ft 11 inches now. The second thing I noticed was that the suspension has been improved. It felt as if I was gliding on the highway and I was feeling like I was driving a German SUV! (Well, thats a bit of overstatement!). Since the price was significantly lower than Civic and Jetta, and also cars were depreciating assets… I decided to invest in Honda City AT.

The Automatic Transmission system comes with Paddle shift and is “intelligent”. For example when you are driving the car in the Drive mode at 5th gear in a highway and if you suddenly want to overtake a truck, in manual transmission vehicles we change gear from 5th to 4th and then accelerate. Here in AT you just need to press the accelerator a little more in a quick manner and the car will know that you are in need of sudden acceleration and automatically change the gear to 4th and after you overtake it will change to 5th again. I am not sure whether its the same in other AT cars, but this I find very fascinating.

I am not satisfied with the interiors much, but for the price this is what you will get. I am planning to install leather seats soon and perhaps then the interiors will look a bit better. I am more inclined towards exterior style and performance of the car. I have put a lot of accessories in my car. Since I downgraded my buying decision from the Civic, I was ready to spend some extra bucks to make my car look unique. Here’s the list of upgrades/accessories I have made.

  • Front Grille – 16k
  • Door Sash Molding – 16k
  • Rear Spoiler – 15k
  • Side Protector – 4k
  • Parking Sensor – 4k
  • Sport Pedals – 1.5k
  • Original Honda Alloy Wheels – 57k!
  • Pillow x 2 – Rs.650
  • Seat Belt Pad – Rs.500 Approx.
  • Trunk Garnish – 4k
  • Chrome Finish for Silencer – 2k (I guess)

Now my car looks very very unique. The front grille changes the look of the car so much that sometimes people wonder whether it is a Honda City. The changes I have made allows me to express my individuality and I think these exorbitantly costly addons are an investment to my personal brand image. Well, this is so irrational… I know.

I am getting a mileage of 13kmpl on the highways and 11kmpl in city. I am satisfied with these numbers. If you go for a manual transmission version, the numbers will be a little high… I guess 14/16. You can only put high octane speed/power petrol. Occasionally you can put normal petrol in case of emergency as I once did but there is a sticker on the fuel tank lid which say Only Speed or Power Petrol.

After the new Honda City was launched, another version of the same car was launched in another 2-3 months. This new version has beige interiors, chrome handle bars and 5 spoke alloy wheels. I did not like that alloy wheel very much. My 14 spoke alloys look much better. (Of course it costs like hell, it has to!).

My old Honda City does not care whether I wear the seat belt or not. But this new kid does not allow me to drive the car without the seat belts. Just like the Civic, there is a buzzer which will keep annoying you if you don’t wear the seat belt. Other safety features include dual SRS Airbags and ABS which are not available in my old Honda City. I believe that ABS is worth every penny. Once in highways during night time there was a check point in the middle of the road and there were no reflectors in it… I saw it too late… at that time I had to turn the car and apply the brakes at the same time. I did and I did not lose control of the car. I have not tested the SRS airbags yet, but will let you know once I do so, he he

Now tell me honestly what else do you need from a car? It goes smooth, it looks good, has the latest safety features and changes gears automatically and last but not the least, it comes from Japan, the land of Samurais. If you are spending for a car which is costlier than this, then you are just spending for the status and brand image and a very little extra performance and safety. I would rather invest in real estate or any other similar appreciating asset than spend more on a car.

Wish you all the best for your future car purchases. Thank you for reading my article, leave some questions in the comments and I will answer them!

Dilip Kumar

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Krishna

    Hey! Excellent review. :)

  • diwakar

    I read your review and it was very helpful. I am planning to buy SX4 Zxi but I still feel I can stretch my budget for City S MT model. I am buying my first car and right now I am bit confused. Can you suggest what is the better option to choose between Sx4 and City.

    • fas

      Diwakar, I think Honda City is a better option if you can shell out the extra dough for it. The car is reliable and quality is top notch.

    • Krishnan

      Diwakar, I have been using the SX4 for the last two years. let me tell you it does not compare with the city in any manner. Do not even consider the SX4! I have just sold the SX4 for a pittance and have bought the new city. I would have bought the city then but then my budget was thin at that point hence the SX4 landed with me.


    FORD FIESTA is BETTER than SX4 , so chose b/w FIESTA and CITY ….FIESTA 1.6 petrol is toooooo hot to drive ….just give a test drive …i recently xchngd my old BALENO zxi for FIESTA zxi…..


    hi DILIP yur car looks awesome with that new radiator grill n those xpnsve Alloys….congrats for yur new ride, happy driving…

  • Tarandeep

    Grt review. Am planning to buy ANHC automatic version. ANy other input from your side. How is the FE in city and on highways

  • Arindam

    Hi Dilip,

    I m contemplating between the V MT and V AT. I m sooooo confused! dunno what to do! i had a small test drive and i think i got a 6.7km/ltr average!
    Please suggest. Also I like to race my car at times when I m first in line on the signal.. heheh… not much.. but just for the kick. I don’t mind putting k&n, etc.

    What is your suggestion?

    • fas

      Arindam, get the MT and get the kicks shifting the way you want at the revvs you like.

  • ruben

    Dilip the front grill looks great. where can i get one of those grill mods here in India. thanks

  • Inde

    Guess what? Today afternoon I have paid the booking amount for a City AT and was looking for reviews to support my decision. I was confused and not quite sure if i was making the right choice but, guess ur article does tells me i was right. Just one query, hows the re-sale of AT like. though i am planning to keep this one for good 5-6 years but, still will be good to know about re-sale.


    I am planning to buy a City AT version, but am contemplating on 2 issues one – i can shell out installments of 8-9k per month, whether is it sufficient for the price tag or not, and secondly i took a test drive on one of my friends car of the same model, and was probably showing a mileage of 17 on road, i have some doubt on that part.

  • Tarandeep

    I have had the City VAT for about 3 months now. I am fully enjoying the automatic. It is a blessing in Delhi “stop and go ” traffic. As per the City’s ODO, it is showing me about 11km/l in city traffic and 17km/l on highways. Havent checked it on tank to tank method.

  • Bush

    Honda City is a low slung car. Even if one goes dead slow, the bumper and the under carriage often get scratched by speed breakers.

    Does Honda have any solutions to this problem?


  • MG


    Dilip your review was very nice to read. Eventhough at present I cannot afford a honda city AT i feel its a good investment fot a good car. I think mileage is resanoble. My uncle has a verna manual transmission and he gets only 11kpl so i guess enjoying a automatic would be a good choice.


  • dr rupesh

    nice review about honda city AT, i had one query, whether MT has more power than AT?, i m six feet tall, so whether leg room is enough or not for tallers like me?

  • indee

    Dear Mr.Dileep ,
    My dad has purchased Honda city 1.5 Auto 2011 model. I have the following doubts. Please clarify them

    1.when can i start using paddle shift?
    after 1000km or 5000km?

    2.suppose if i am at a traffic signal for more than 1 min idling….do I need to shift from D to N or P or simply be on D by holding the car by pressing the brake.

    3.When the car is driven on a slope or steep slope do I need to use paddle shift or simply continue driving in D by accelerating more?

    4.How can i shift to paddle shift? while the car is in motion or simply stop the car & change to S and then continue drive again?

    • fas

      Indee, You can start using paddles after first service. You can move to park at traffic signals. When on slope you can use either options. You can shift to paddles on the go.

  • Sunil

    Excellent review by Dilip!

    I’m planning to buy Honda City. Any idea if there is a new model in the offing in 2012? Does the automatic transmission justify the extra cost spent and less mileage. Is the car life lesser due to AT. Is the AT repairable if it goes bad!

    • Faisal

      Sunil, a new model is expected soon. AT price is justified and does not affect the life of the car. Yes, AT is repairable but doesn’t go bad so frequently.

    • Sunil

      Thanks for your response Faisal.

    • Faisal

      Sunil, your most welcome ;-)

  • prabakarbalan

    heyy!! iam also owng a 2009 ivtec city m/t white!! its gr8 tat u’ve portraied this car ina vry nice manner!! on seen this i’ve also planned to spendn money on my city to make it look gud!!!a small correction city m/t is givn a milege of 18-19.5on highways and 15 on city rds!!:)and the new city which’l be dun midst of 2012 will hav a vryy few changes with the grilles and its bumpers!! honda city rockzzzz

  • Sunil

    I have heard that around fourth year of its running Honda City (both ZX and IVTEC models) develop some electrical fault in the engine, which means replacing four coils costing around 1 Lac. The symtom is the car gives “jhatkas”. Is this true? I am planning to buy the new version AT. Seeking suggestions!

    • Faisal

      Sunil, I don’t think so. Could be a one-off situation.

  • Pranita

    Hello friends,
    I m planning to buy HONDA CITY V . But till confused I should go for auto / manual. What will be the average of both of them and for which I should go for keep future consideration in mind

    • Faisal

      Pranita, get the AT if you drive in congested city traffic regularly.

  • Tarandeep

    Though the fuel average of AT is definitely lower than manual, it is a boon in stop go traffic conditions in cities. No need for clutch and gear driving and no engine switching off problems.

  • azmat khan

    Hi, thanks for the great review.
    I am planning to buy a pre-owned Honda City S, automatic version. Bought in July 2009 for Rs. 10.7 lakh, has done 35,000 kms. Car seems to be in good condition. (I know the guy pretty well, so he wouldn’t lie to me about condition.) He is asking Rs. 7 lakh for the car.
    Do you think the price asked is right? I felt it was a little on the higher side especially given the depreciation value. I would greatly appreciate if you and others can help me make my mind.
    Many thanks.

    • Faisal

      Azmat, price is definitely high, considering Honda dropped prices recently and that is the S variant.

    • azmat khan

      Hi Faisal, thanks so much for your response. Truly appreciate. Could you please tell me how much I can offer for it at the most? I understand it’s difficult for you to answer this because you have not seen the car at all. But still, from what I have mentioned about the present condition of the car, how much would the general market value be?
      Awaiting your response.
      Thanks again Faisal.

    • Faisal

      Azmat, around Rs. 5.75 lakhs would be a good offer.

    • azmat khan

      Thanks so much Faisal, really appreciate. Will inform how things go. Bye for now and thanks again.

    • Faisal

      Azmat, you are most welcome ;-)

  • Lingam

    Hi Faisal, excellent work here and makes interesting reading.
    I am planning to buy City V- contemplating manual vs auto (as many here seem to have done)- ownership cost and maintenance / spare costs are my concern.
    How does the running cost of auto -/ manual compare?
    Are the service and maintenance costs very high in AT?
    And given the craze for diesel- will the resale value of AT say after 5 years be a BIG problem.( Even wondering if anyone will buy petrol cars in India looking at the way things are going!)

    • Lingam, can’t really say much about the future trend but going by the recent happenings, petrol cars won’t be as popular. More so because Honda plans to launch a diesel engined City next year.

      If your running comprises of heavy city traffic, get the AT, or else the manual is just fine. Maintenance costs of AT are slightly higher, but modern day ATs are very good and are almost similar cost in maintenance.

    • Lingam

      Thanks a lot and boy your reply was lightening fast! Keep up the good work

    • Lingam, you are most welcome. So which one did you decide upon? City manual or City automatic. What is your budget? Why don’t you consider a diesel vehicle?

    • lingams

      Hi faizal,
      I am still considering the city AT, but heard from my colleague that it gives only 8.5km/l in chennai city driving. Well, it not a good thing to hear but then is it really the case? I believed that it will give atleast 10 on road, what do you suggest?

    • lingam

      Regarding diesel vehicle, my usage is not more than 1000km/month and still i did give a thought to diesel verna, not yet test driven. Even called vento diesel for TD but no response from Volkswagen guys! Is verna worth the money? Please guys let me know. Thanks

    • Lingam, City will give you around 9 km/l in auto, so its better you opt for a diesel. Get the Verna, its worth the money.

    • lingam

      Thanks a lot faisal.

    • Faiz

      Many thanks, Faisal.

  • Faiz

    Hi Faisal
    Fun reading your review which I enjoyed. I recently purchased a Honda City V AT in August 2012 with around 800 km on the odo. The first service has happened. I wanted to crosscheck something with you – when I switch on the car in the mornings, I idle it for around a min. Then to drive, I shift to D after releasing the brake. I notice a slight “click” sound just before the car starts moving forward. It doesn’t happen in reverse, and not that I have noticed. Is it something you’ve noticed with your automatic as well?
    The fuel consumption is around 10.9 tank to tank on normal fuel and without air conditioning. Should I be using premium fuel? And will the fuel consumption improve?
    Many thanks in advance.

    • Faiz, no. Don’t use premium fuel, your vehicle is not designed to run on it.

    • Faiz

      Appreciate the revert, Faisal. Pls also shed some light on the click sound as I mentioned.

    • Nope Faiz, I haven’t noticed such an issue. Could be a one-off, why don’t you get it checked by your Honda dealer?

  • Mihir

    A very nice detailing. I have a query regarding selection of car. As using 1500 km on avarage in Mumbai. How it will be beneficial for me to go for CITY AT? Which one is suitable? S AT or V AT? AT Diesel version is available?

    • If you don’t mind the lower mileage of the automatic variant, get it. No Honda car is available in diesel yet.

  • Vijay

    Thank you Dilip for details about Honda City.

    2 days back I have booked the Honda City 1.5 S AT…I am really waiting for it.

  • Chinmay

    Faisal: You seem to be an expert here… Please reply ASAP… I will take your word.. I am booking the Honda City in another half an hour (swear) VMT or SAT? I have driven AT versions in US for 3 years dont know anything about Manual versions – 1200 kms a month in Pune
    Thank you

    • Chinmay, get the SAT if you are not comfortable with manual gearboxes. But if you go for manual, you will learn quickly as its not difficult.

  • Chinmay

    Thanks that was quick – the budget remains same —
    If I could phrase my question better I will ask.
    Does VMT has better features than SAT? to change my mind going to go for Manual version?
    I am not worried on the mileage as such but the budget is fixed 10.5 on road.
    I am not a racer I don’t mind learning manual too..
    so any important features missing in SAT to over VMT?
    V is better than S? in which way? just aesthetics?

    Thanks again.. nor more questions :)

    • Yup, a few feature differences, check them here –

    • Chinmay

      Thank you – I will go for VMT I guess …. will learn manual… will some bucks over the year…
      Cruise control in India i dont know whats the logic of it…
      Faisal – thanks for attending… I will keep asking quetions after the car is deleivered…
      Btw which machine u drive?

    • You are welcoe. Cruise control not that useful in India, unless you do a lot of highway driving.

      I drive a Swift.

  • Apoorv Jain


    I am planning to buy a pre-owned Honda City S, automatic version. Bought in 2009 has done 36,000 kms. Car seems to be in good condition. Could you please suggest me how much I can offer?

    Apoorv Jain

  • Sanjay Gupta

    hi faisal saw ur reviews on honda city.I recently bought october 2011 preowned city VMT 35000 km doctor driven car for 6.3 lacs.Is it worth the price.I have been trying desparately for last 2 weeks for the same front grill.Where can i get it in delhi or online

  • Karthik

    i’m planning to buy a honda city. i cant decide whether to buy V AT or MT. it would be great if you could give your opinion. i do a lot of city driving in delhi.
    i have also heard rumours that AT cars should not be driven by too many people. is this true?
    looking forward to your reply :)

  • Noorul

    Hi Dilip,
    YOu were mentioning that you have used old Honda city AT before buying this new one.. I have question about the old one, I am planning to get a used AT 2006 model(bought on 2007 Jan)… I checked the vehicle with mechanic, he said its condition is good… Is it for my father , whose usage is gonna be less…. Currently it has run 64K, which is what i am little bit bothered about… Please put your suggestions …Cost is coming around 4L

    • Noorul, if the car is in good condition, go for it.

  • Raju

    Hi All,
    I am planning to buy a pre-owned Honda City S AT, automatic version, color beige metallic. Bought in 2009 has done 27,000 kms. showroom maintenance and good condition. Could you please suggest me how much I can offer?

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